Why You Should Never Use an Online Web Site Builder for Your Business! (And When You Should)

Online website builder

An online web site builder is a platform that allows people to build and update their own web sites. They can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 a month, or more depending on the features. While they seem like a great bargain, there are a number of reasons that any business owner should never use them.

And when we refer to “updating your own web site,” we do not mean a content management solution that a website developer has integrated for you. If you have a website specifically designed for your business with content management built-in, these issues discussed below do not apply because custom integration should address all of these problems.

Using an online website builder is like driving a used Honda Accord. A highly-targeted, professionally designed web site is like driving a brand new Ferrari. Sure, that Accord can get you from point A to B, but a Ferrari is going to get you the looks and attention your business deserves (and needs!)

There are many reasons why we are against the use of online web site builders for businesses which we will discuss below. As a custom website design company, we may have a little bit of a bias on this topic. Just a little.

Visual Appeal

Online website builders are the very definition of “cookie-cutter.” They’re designed to save money, so they fit into a template where your options are limited. Customers these days can tell the difference when a website fits into the “cookie-cutter” theme. The internet is a very visual medium, so a bland web site with a “boxy” design won’t be attracting many people.

What’s Under the Hood

Typically, the programming behind online website builders is very bulky. A lot of unnecessary and messy code can severely slow down the speed of a website on any connection. We don’t exactly know why they are built like this, but it appears the code required to allow for hundreds or thousands of people to use the same template can get very complex. Even if your website does not use all of the options available, they’re going to load on your web site anyway.

Poor and excessive coding not only affects the speed of your website, but search engine optimization as well.

Bad for Search Optimization

Online website builders are a disaster for search engine optimization. The only editable characteristics of an online website builder are the title of your pages and the content you can add. That’s it (for the ones we’ve seen.) What about the names of your files? We’ve seen URLs that look like this: www.mydomain.com/442/235/page1.html. Now, does that URL really tell a search engine what your page is about? In addition to bad file naming conventions, we haven’t seen an online website builder that lets you edit the Meta Tags of your pages, or your image descriptions. And you have absolutely no control over your link structure, which is absolutely essential in directing both visitors and search engines throughout your entire website.

Website programming code is ignored by search engines when they crawl your pages. When the majority of your page is made up of extraneous code, it makes it rather difficult for a search engine spider to know where the content is. Even the smallest programming error could confuse a search engine into thinking your content is part of the code, and the other way around.

Generic Features Galore

The main selling point of online website builders is that they offer many features for a rock bottom price. You can add a calendar, contact form, or forum with the press of a button. But do you have any control over the look or functionality of those features? Nope. Are these “features” as bare-boned as they can possibility be? Yes.

What do you when your business website needs a feature that cannot be added with an online website builder? You’re pretty much stuck with what you have. Business websites must differentiate themselves from their competition by adding features and widgets not available anywhere else. That’s essentially impossible with any online website builder.

Hey, Do You Even Know What You’re Doing?

There is a reason why professional website design and development companies exist. You may have 10 pages of information about your business, but does it sell? The fundamental purpose of any website should be to turn visitors into buyers, leads, or sign-ups. If you have no experience in the copy writing department, you can be hurting your business more than you’re helping it by trying to save a few bucks.

The Return on Your Investment

Online marketing is the same as any other kind of marketing: The goal is to see a return on your investment. The initial investment in a custom website design should pay for itself within 6 months to a year. Ideally, the more features and benefits you integrate into your website, the greater the return you will see on traffic, sales, and conversions.

An online website builder could provide a great return on your investment because the cost is so low, any new customers will be a positive return. But with the pitfalls of online website builders, you could be hard pressed to find any traffic unless you are doing a significant amount of offline promotion. And even if you’re pushing traffic to your website offline, conversion rates can be dismal if you’re relying on your “cookie-cutter” website to do the sales for you.

When Your Business Allowed to Use an Online Website Builder

There are few benefits to using an online website builder when compared to a professionally designed website. The one benefit is cost. If your business does not have a website and you’re heavily invested in offline marketing, then using an online website builder is a practical way to get your business on the web. Especially if you’re on a tight budget, online website builders are a good sequeway into a effective online marketing. Like we always say, having your business on the web in some way, shape, or form, is better than nothing!


If you want your web site to work for you, then you need to have one professionally created. It requires lots of planning, organization, and thought to build an effective website, but in the end it will pay off greatly. Don’t be fooled that online website builders and professionally designed websites perform at the same levels. Your visitors aren’t.

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